“HERE is nothing new nor aught unproven,” say the Trumpets,
“Many feet have worn it and the road is old indeed.
“It is the King—the King we schooled aforetime !”
(Trumpets in the marshes—in the eyot at Runnymede!)
“Here is neither haste, nor hate, nor anger,” peal the Trumpets,
. . . . .
“He hath changed the fashion of the lies that cloak his will.
“Hard die the Kings—ah hard—dooms hard!” declare the Trumpets,
Trumpets at the gang-plank where the brawling troop-decks fill!
Ancient and Unteachable, abide—abide the Trumpets!
All we have of freedom, all we use or know—
Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—
Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing
Till our fathers ’stablished, after bloody years,
So they bought us freedom—not at little cost
Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,
Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure.
(Time himself is witness, till the battle joins,
Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace.
They that beg us barter—wait his yielding mood—
Howso’ great their clamour, whatsoe’er their claim,
Here is naught unproven—here is naught to learn.
He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;
He shall break his judges if they cross his word;
He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring
Hate and all division; hosts of hurrying spies;
Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,
We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse
We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,
Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,
Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,
Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain—
Here is naught at venture, random nor untrue—
Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid:
Step by step, and word by word: who is ruled may read.
All the right they promise—all the wrong they bring.